Steel artist Subodh Gupta experiments with fresh mediums

New Delhi: After carving a global identity in stainless steel and having worked with materials like cow dung, artist Subodh Gupta acclaimed as "superstar of Indian contemporary art", is now experimenting with other mediums for his 2013 solo show.

"Steel has always been my baby. I love the material; it is a part of my life. For my next solo show I am experimenting with newer materials, it is a work in process," Gupta told reporters.

The artist was in the national capital to attend a lecture discussion of his works organised by Copal Art, an art advisory art bank.

The Delhi-based artist takes objects used by an average Indian in daily life like steel kitchen utensils, lunchboxes, pots and pans, bicycles etc in mass scale to create monumental works that are a commentary on the social, economic and other realities of life.

"Indian art has a long way to go compared to the global art world. We need to have more contemporary art museums in the country. More art education is needed," says the artist who has been referred in the West as the ‘Damien Hirst of Delhi.’

While Gupta`s `A Very Hungry God` (2006) a 1000 kg skull made of stainless pots, pans and buckets was exhibited at the 2007 Venice Biennale, English artist Hirst`s ‘For the Love of God’ platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with diamonds was shown in London the same year.
Gupta, who worked as an actor in small theatre groups in his native village in Bihar, has also designed the sets for ‘Apocalypse’ a Russian ballet performed in September 2010 and expected to travel to India soon.

The artist`s body of work includes installation, painting, photography, performance and video art.

In 2008 Gupta collaborated with 20 artists for luxury fashion house Chanel`s Mobile Art project.

Tasked with using the iconic quilted handbag as a starting point, he created a two screen video incorporating scenes from Bollywood films.

A nifty dresser, the 46-year-old artist, usually seen sporting geeky glasses and stylish clothes expresses a fondness for design.

"I just love design. Good design is fantastic be it in fashion, furniture, architecture...," says Gupta who earlier this year created a four-foot tall sculpture in the shape of a vodka bottle out of his trademark steel vessels for the Absolute Art series.

In his solo exhibition "Oil on canvas" here in December 2010, Gupta showcased just sculptures created from bronze, marble, brass and wood as well as in his signature medium of polished steel.

Irrespective of the medium being used, "the final product", says the artist, "is always more important." "Material is important but what I make of it matters more to me. The artist is the first viewer of his work and I have discovered that till now I have not been able to translate 100 per cent of what I conceived into my works. Isn`t that true for every artist," says Gupta.

The Bihar-born artist who opened his major solo exhibition at Sara Hilden Art Museum, in Finland in February 2011 and whose works were featured in the group exhibition, ‘Paris - Delhi – Bombay’ in May 2011 at Paris has also exhibited in some of the world`s most important contemporary art galleries, including Hauser & Wirth (London and Zurich), Arario (Seoul and Beijing), Pinchuk Art Centre (Kiev), and Galeria Continua (San Gimignano, Italy).

The prolific artist who finds inspiration in his everyday life says, "Artists have to look within and express the truth".


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